The view from the (temporary) yard…
At FanGraphs, J.D. Sussman looks at the Jays’ decision to trade Noah Syndergaard and keep Aaron Sanchez by comparing the two former members of the Lansing Three, and seemingly edges towards Sanchez, explaining that that he “has the athleticism, body control and repeatable delivery coaches look for when gauging whether a pitcher can harness his command. It’s more difficult to determine whether Syndergaard can develop a curveball, which is tied to a skillset he’s yet to showcase: consistent tight rotation due to wrist pronation and tensile strength.”
Whether it’s from a keen observational eye, or simply the innate knowledge of where his bread is buttered, Jeff Blair of the Globe and Mail can drop juicy, delicious, McDonalds “grilled onion cheddar” burger-like nuggets like few others. In his latest, ostensibly about Casey Janssen and his stronger-than-we-maybe-thought position as the incumbent closer, he also shares news of Ricky Romero’s blood-platelet procedure on his knees, and John Gibbons’ suggestion “off the cuff that knee pain might be an issue for Romero.” He tells us that Sergio Santos claims that he really was working on a changeup last spring, when he was kept being shielded. He also lays this on us: “Among the items on Alex Anthopoulos’s to-do list on this breezy, coolish Monday morning was catching a glimpse of Colby Rasmus’s reworked, quieter swing during an eye-popping session of batting practice.” Whuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut?
Gregor Chisholm of BlueJays.com takes a closer look at Rasmus and his approach, including some quotes from the club’s new hitting coach, Chad Mottola.
At Sportsnet, Mike Wilner also talks about Ricky Romero and his knees, plus his pride, and his leaning on Mark Buehrle, which apparently he’s already doing with the veteran lefty– exactly, one presumes, as Alex Anthopoulos hoped when he signed off on swallowing that contract.
Wilner also has an earlier piece about Brandon Morrow, who he sees as being poised for a breakout season– which makes total sense, given that 2012 would have been one for the Jays’ game two starter, had he not been hurt.
Wilner’s Sportsnet colleague, Shi Davidi, looks at the Romero knee situation in-depth, and… man, it would be worrying if he weren’t already the fifth starter, or if J.A. Happ wasn’t slated for Buffalo, despite his being better than Romero down the stretch. Not that I want them to go pissing away depth, but… y’know?
In a different post, Davidi tells us that Moises Sierra is going to be joining Team Dominican at the World Baseball Classic. Jays Journal had it too, sans link. Ugh.
In a notebook post at BlueJays.com, Gregor Chisholm also talks about Romero’s knees, as well as the relationship between Mark DeRosa and Brett Lawrie, as the veteran has been “attached at the hip to Lawrie during the early stages of camp.” So… he’s the babysitter. Sure, why not?
Ken Fidlin of the Toronto Sun also has a piece about the relationship between Lawrie and DeRosa, as well as look at new pals Ricky Romero and Mark Buehrle. Fidlin also says that the competition to be the Jays’ main guy at second base may last all season, and very briefly gets some comments from Gibbers about Josh Johnson, who the returning manager says he’s counting on, and… uh… no, that’s pretty much all he says. Like I say: brief. Johnson, of course, is slated to debut at Rogers Centre in the fourth game of the season– in the Friday following Opening Day, which will mark the return of John Farrell to Toronto.
“That was a bullet. I couldn’t believe it,” says an anonymous player of Melky Cabrera’s All-Star Game home run last season., according to an ESPN.com piece from Buster Olney (Insider Olney). “Because I remembered what he was before. He wasn’t a very good player, and then he’s one of the best outfielders in the world? Please. It just pisses me off.”
Over at the National Post, John Lott writes more about AA’s rebuke of sad blue collar 1950s anthropomorphic cartoon cat, passing along the lesser-noted fact that the GM explained that Lind, who criticized the club’s mixed messages, hitting-wise, last week, “has been in the league long enough now and it’s up to him to say I’m a little confused, I need a little help and what not.” Uh… right?
Neil Davidson of the Canadian Press, via the Globe, talks to Jays VP of marketing and merchandising, Anthony Partipilo, about the club’s new maple-bedecked batting practice caps– and is much less quick to talk about the compromise it took to put it together than Paul Beeston was, according to a post of a couple weeks ago from Minor Leaguer at Bluebird Banter.
The Tao of Stieb kicks off this season’s x-number-of-Jays in x-number-of-days series with a look at Esmil Rogers.
At Bluebird Banter, Blake Murphy looks at the adjustment the Jays’ three ex-NL starters will have to make as they move this season into the American League.
Steve Adams of MLBTR looks at the make-or-break year that Josh Johnson is about to embark on, and on a similar note, at the Toronto Star, Richard Griffin talks about Colby Rasmus being in a similar situation.
Also via MLBTR, we get a Jon Morosi tweet regarding the Jays’ failed off-season pursuit of Jason Grilli, who ended up staying with Pittsburgh. He confirmed that “that he made his final free-agent decision among the Pirates, Jays and Cubs. All offered similar deals.”
Jennifer Langosch of MLB.com looks at Canada’s WBC pursuit of Cardinals uber-prospect Oscar Taveras, who holds a Canadian passport after living briefly in Montreal when he was younger, while the New York Daily News talks to Jussell Martin, who still intends to play shortstop for the red and white, for some reason.
We’ll probably stop doing this eventually, but not yet! At Minor League Ball, John Sickels compares the game’s best catching prospects, Mike Zunino and ex-Jay Travis d’Arnaud.
Weekennd Punks Versus The Flaming Phoenix Of Flames has clip of what would be, if you didn’t know any better, a nifty old-school-esque video game featuring the current Jays.
Lastly, at ESPN.com (Insider Only, unfortunately), Keith Law gives us his “desert island” stats, and breaks down why they’re the ones he can’t live without. Even if you have a good handle on why certain stats matter, it’s definitely worth a read– and an Insider subscription is definitely worth the price, if only just for the KLaw stuff.